I realize potato pancakes are considered a Hanukkah food, but I absolutely love them and from time to time make them during the rest of the year. They're definitely not something I make often (the cleanup from the frying is a pain), but they're one of my favorites. As always, the sour cream and potato combo has won me over. When I was younger I would only top my potato pancakes with sour cream, lots of sour cream, but now I love the combination of applesauce and sour cream as well.
These are best if eaten straight from the pan. When they're reheated, the initial crispiness is lost. When I make these, I put all dinnertime manners aside serve these the second they're done, which means everyone eats in shifts. If you want to have a more civilized meal, you can keep these warm in your oven while you prepare the rest.
4.5 pound potatoes, washed and eyes removed
5 small shallots or 1 onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to season
Olive oil, for frying
If your potatoes have thin skin, such as a yukon gold, you don't need to peel them. Using a medium sized grated (in between the large holes on your box grater and a microplane), grate all the potatoes into a large bowl. Squeeze the potatoes and discard all the liquid. Add the onion, flour, eggs, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mix.
Heat a large pan over medium- high heat. Pour about 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil into the pan. Pick up a handful of the potatoes and squeeze out the remaining liquid. Place the potato mixture into the frying pan and press it flat with your spatula. Repeat until your have your pan filled (but don't overcrowd it or flipping will be a challenge). Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the potato pancakes are golden on the bottom. Flip over and continue to cook until the bottom is also golden, another 5 to 8 minutes. If your pan seems to be dry, add a splash of olive oil.
Line a clean plate with a layer of paper towels. When the potato pancakes are cooked, lift them out of the pan and place them on the paper towel for a moment so some of the oil will be absorbed by the towel. Continue until all the potato mixture is used up. If you want, you can keep the prepared potato pancakes in the oven until all of them are ready to eat. Serve immediately and top with sour cream, applesauce, of your favorite topping.
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